As the politics and rhetoric increases in intensity around Enbridge Line 5, Canada needs to focus on the goal of eliminating the significant risks to the fish, wildlife and people of Lakes Michigan and Huron posed by the high possibility of a spill from Line 5. Work needs to begin on alternatives to the existing pipeline.
The Great Lakes are a natural treasure and a source of great economic value to both Canada and the United States. A spill in the Straits could result in significant negative impacts to birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and aquatic plants in the spill area extending over 50 kilometres into Lakes Michigan and Huron on either side of the Straits of Mackinac. (Source: Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, Inc. 2017. Alternatives Analysis for the Straits Pipelines, https://mipetroleumpipelines.com/document/alternatives-analysis-straits-pipeline-final-report).
These environmental impacts would result in economic impacts in the billions of dollars from lost recreation, tourism, and commercial fishing opportunities, as well as impacts to residential properties and increased costs of municipal water testing and treatment for millions of people (Source: Melstrom, R.T. et al. 2019. Economic damages from a worst-case oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 45(6): 1130-1141).